Eighty-five percent (85%) of all new businesses fail within the first 5 years. Why? Because most entrepreneurs fail to plan, focus, delegate, and create systems. As a result, they suffer from overwhelm, fatigue, burn out, and lack of sustainable income.
Over the past twelve years, I have coached and mentored hundreds of women entrepreneurs to help them attract more clients, build profitable businesses, and develop a quality lifestyle they desire.
I have noticed that there are seven critical mistakes many women small business owners make. The good news is that there are easy solutions that you can implement immediately for all of these mistakes, and I’m going to share them with you.
Here are the seven success habits that set apart the women who build extremely successful businesses and earn healthy six-figure incomes from the women who never seem to attract enough clients and who struggle to make ends meet every month.
Mistake #1: Lack of focus
Of all the issues that can sabotage the success of women business owners, lack of focus is near the top of the list. Going in too many different directions at once results in dissipated energy, loss of time, and often loss of income, as the most important items drop to the bottom of the to-do list.
The solution: focus on doing fewer things very well – to do less in more time. Instead of responding freely to the things that show up every day, decide what really counts. And put your focus there. Say NO! to everything else.
Mistake # 2: No system for generating new business
Many businesses fail from not finding enough new clients and opportunities. This is due to not having a system in place to consistently generate enough referrals to sustain the business.
The solution: ask for referrals and testimonials. Referrals are the best way to attract new clients. Research shows that up to 45% of most services are chosen based on the recommendation of others. Learn to clearly articulate the value of what you do. Don’t be shy about getting the word out and asking people to send business your way. Create a database of contacts so that you have a consistent way to follow up over time.
Mistake # 3: Inconsistent follow-up
Failure to follow up and to stay in contact with clients will kill repeat and long-term business faster than anything. People want to know they are valued. They want to hear from you and to feel that they have a relationship with you.
The solution: consistent and frequent communication. Sales are rarely made on the first contact. 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact. Most business women give up after following up only once or twice. If you find ways to connect or stay in touch with prospects 7 or more times, chances are good that they will eventually hire you.
Mistake # 4: Trying to sell features instead of benefits
Professional service providers often make the mistake of describing the process they use or a feature of their service as a selling point. They offer a definition of what they do instead of a statement of the key benefits that the client wants. By doing this, they fail to establish the true value of their products and services in the mind of the prospect.
The solution: promote benefits and results. Help prospective clients understand how your service can truly help them solve a problem and provide a benefit or result they are looking for – and are willing to pay money for. Let them know you understand their needs.
Mistake # 5: Not targeting their market
Many business women waste precious time, energy, and resources chasing ‘opportunities’ that don’t result in actual business because they don’t have a clear idea of who specifically they are promoting their services to.
The solution: Narrow your business niche. Clarify your specialty, identify a problem you can solve, and choose a profitable target market. Success in business depends on accurately identifying the best marketplace for your services and products. If you try to sell something to people who don’t want what you’re selling, they won’t buy it. If you try to sell good services to the wrong marketplace, you won’t make any sales. It’s that simple.
Mistake # 6: Ineffective planning
One of the biggest reasons for small business failure is a lack of planning. Most entrepreneurs are doers rather than planners. They would rather be in action than plan the action. Many spend more time planning a trip or a party than they do their business.
The solution: Create a marketing action plan. Entrepreneurs who plan ahead are the ones who make it. You can create a simple, effective marketing action plan in as little as 60 minutes. With a plan, you have a roadmap to success that will exponentially increase your chances of succeeding.
Mistake # 7: Staying a secret
If you’re not making an offer of your services to a large number of people, then you won’t be in business for very long. Too many women are nervous or fearful about promoting themselves and their services. They feel they will be perceived as being pushy if they talk too much about their business, and so don’t speak up clearly and proudly to say who they are and what they do.
The solution: Get well known. In order to be really successful, you need to stand out from the crowd and be well known by a large number. I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to blow your own horn! It’s okay to talk about who you are and what you do. Don’t keep yourself a secret – get the word out. Do something that will get you and your services talked about and raise you to ‘expert status’.
If you implement just a few of the solutions above, you’ll be well on your way to having a highly successful, fulfilling business by avoiding many of the common mistakes business owners make.